New Solar Plant Hits Record High Of 28 Percent

Kenya set a new record for solar power generation capacity last year when the 40 megawatt (MW) Alten Kenya Solarfarms project at Kesses in Uasin Gishu was put into operation.

Data from Kenya Power was obtained by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), which revealed that in 2023, solar power generation surged to a record 491.48 million kilowatt-hours (kWh).

Compared to the previous year’s output of 383.54 million units, this was a 28.1 percent rise.

The activation of the Kesses plant and a notable increase in output from the 40MW-capable Cedate and Malindi solar farms have led to a rise in the production of solar energy.

During the country’s early-year severe drought, the country’s generation deficit was mitigated by a 12.4% decrease in hydropower output. Additionally, 200MW of imported solar electricity from Ethiopia helped.

Although wind generation decreased by 6.2% as well, there was still enough power due to the large increase in imports and solar and geothermal energy generation.

Kenya electricity was able to cut its purchases of costly thermal electricity by 17.5% as a result.

Currently, Kenya’s four 40 MW solar plants—Selenkei, Alten, Malindi, and Cedate—supply the grid with clean energy. A tiny amount of solar energy is also fed into the grid by the 0.3 MW Strathmore solar plant.

As more people demand for the government to remove feed-in tariffs (FiT) for solar and wind power in order to capitalize on declining costs for these technologies’ component parts, new solar facilities are going up for commissioning.

The government should switch to energy auctions and cease approving new solar and wind PPAs under FiTs, as advised by the Presidential Taskforce on Review of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).

Maximum transitional rates of US cents 7.5/kWh for solar PV and US cents 7/kWh for wind were recommended by the task force in its report, which was presented to former President Uhuru Kenyatta in September 2021, for all projects that had not yet reached financial close.